About Me

 

 The greatest thing we can do is to show up for our lives and not be ashamed.

 -Anne Lamott

 

I'm a creature of the word, learning to tell my honest story.

I offer it here because telling stories is the road back home.

Motherhood is not a biological designation
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« It feels so good to be comfortably numb | Main | If you don't believe like I do, you are going to hell »
Wednesday
Apr172013

Get Rid of God

My first teaching job was in 2002, the year I graduated from James Madison University.

I worked in an alternative education school- the place you get sent when they don't want you in the regular school system, but you're not quite bad enough yet for a Juvenile Detention Center. I worked with the GED program, and I was a long-term substitute for an English class of nine 8th grade girls, four of which were pregnant at age fourteen; I think the rest were in gangs.

I got hired full-time in October 2004 at a brand new high school.

 

 

I taught two self-contained Special Education classes, and a few ninth-grade inclusion English classes. I had a Special Education caseload even though I'd only taken four Saturdays worth of classes in how to teach Special Education.  

They called it a conditional license to teach.  

 

I started working on my Master's degree that same year since I figured I knew squat diddly about how to actually teach the children.

I came back the following school year to teach ninth grade inclusion classes, and to take over the drama program which meant I got to teach two acting classes and direct plays.

I quit the classroom at the end of that school year because my first-born, Malachi, was due in July.  But I started a job teaching high school online. I taught 10th grade English, a curriculum designed around the exploration of dystopian literature (my favorite). I taught online for a few years, and then added a job as adjunct faculty at Ashford University Online, and then another job as adjunct faculty for University of Phoenix (also online), finally finishing out my Master's degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in English.

2012 was the first year I didn't teach a single class. I took maternity leave late in 2011 in preparation for Phoenix's birth, but then my house burnt down and I moved nine times, culminating in moving halfway across the country, so I guess you could say I was a little busy.  

 

Out of all the grad classes, all the staff development courses, all the in-services, all the department meetings, if I could distill all the training down to one sentence, it would be:

"students don't know how to think for themselves anymore."  

More specifically, students cannot engage in any critical thinking. They don't know how to explore a topic, think about it outside the box, and then apply an idea in different ways than the norm.  

 

I was reminded of this when I read this article today,

"Spend twenty minutes on the Internet and you can see what the day's games are:

Single and Loving it! versus Married and Sexless;

Having it all versus You Can't Have Everything;

Selfish Childless Bitches versus Smug Breeders;

Sassy Libertines versus Reactionary Prudes.  

And so on.  

Everyone has an argument they're advancing, but that's playing defense, not moving the ball down the field. 

We need voices speaking honestly about the costs of edging away from convention,

voices that are neither puritan nor partisan.  

But we live in a country in which an assault is being conducted on complication,

moral and otherwise...

"Someone to Watch Over Me" an article in Elle by Carlene Bauer

 

My thought was that people are just crazy uncomfortable with the grey area.

It's so much easier to slap a label on somebody or an idea, and then be done with it.

We hate contradiction. We hate ideas that don't resolve into neat little lunchable portions for easy digestion.

It's so uncomfortable when something refuses to be pinned down, when it refuses to meet our expectations, when it refuses to resolve out of dissonance.

There is good or evil.  

Not, as Stephen King says, "murderers who sometimes help old ladies cross the street."


I think this is one of the reasons people hated Jesus.

Jesus refused to perform according to peoples' expectations of him.  

He refused to be assigned to wholly one thing or another.  

He did not get born where they thought he should.

He did not make friends with the people they thought he should.  

He refused to be a King, and to act as they thought he should.

He hung out with the wrong people.  He performed miracles on the wrong days.  He wouldn't answer their questions the right way.

 

He was the Lion and the Lamb.

They wanted him to be one or the other.

He wanted them to think for themselves.

He asked, "Who do you think I am?"

It's a personal question.

 

Brennan Manning (who died five days ago by the way) says, "One of the telltale signs in the contemporary American church that trust in God is on the wane is the meteoric rise of legalistic religion.  

Legalism is a religious response to human fear.

What makes legalism so attractive is that it meets a basic human need-security.

It makes absolute something that is humanly manufactured-man-made laws-and then goes on to justify its position by declaring that what has been absolutized is so by God's will.

We create a very solid foundation for our lives because the God who has been absolutized by us can never surprise us, since He is in a way a being of our own making.  

We know what we have put into Him, and so we know exactly what we can expect to get out of Him.  

The risk of living in union with Jesus and hearing His voice in our own lives is too scary, so let's decide that the voice will sound only in the Bible, the official pronouncements of the church and our security network of human-made moral standards. 

It's an effective way of coping with God, reducing Him to human size and guaranteeing that we will not have to make way for the unsettling and new in our hearts."

-The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus (138-9)

 

Hearing God's voice for ourselves is a risk because it means getting quiet.  

What will we hear if we get quiet?

But what happens in a world where no one thinks for themselves, where we are content to let someone else- the news, social media, the church-think for us?  Where we assign ideas and people into camps so we can be done with them? 

 

I agree with Manning,

"If God is invoked to justify division, competition, contempt and hatred among Christian sects in the Body of Christ and hostility toward other world religions, then get rid of God so that we may find God."

As the 14th century mystic Meister Eckhart said:

"I pray that I may be quit of God that I may find God."

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